Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bangladesh Day 2: Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Traffic lights notwithstanding, we careened out of Dhaka at 7:30am on a drive that resembled an advanced level video game more than a roadtrip. Rules for driving in Bangladesh: 1.) The number of marked lanes plus one is the number of cars that fit across on any given road. 2.) If your lane is slow the shoulder of the OPPOSITE side is a viable option. 3.) Passing a truck loaded with cows that is ALSO passing a bus on a blind curve is acceptable. If not a blind curve it's OK to answer your cell phone.

Bone weary and weak kneed after seven hours of studying the above driving guidelines we piled out of the van and dumped our bags at Charity Foundation's guest house (A local NGO that took over for Mennonite Central Committee a few years ago). I had been warned this place was "nothing fancy" but was unprepared for its abundance of charm. What rural Bangladesh lacks in creature comforts they more than make up for in style. Rich colors and textures spotlessly clean.

After a delicious meal of Daal we ditched the van and traveled "by hand"-- a rickshaw bicycle piloted by a wiry man of small stature and enormous strength down a brick road toward Oz...or is this the Warner Bros. lot? If I were a location scout for the movie industry I would want to know about this place. We were welcomed as royalty with flower garlands and impossibly sweet blobby treats. Is there a condensed milk river nearby?

I am starting to understand the pattern of these visits. I, as "a buyer from De Milo Design in America" am expected to give a speech. I am also expected to mitigate their "crisis of orders" right there on the spot. More than just a little awkward. But the discomfort is tempered by the genuinely interesting setup of their workshops. It's a relief when the attention shifts to the "how" of production.

Justin says this is the most amazing place he's ever been. I agree. It has a palpable other-worldly aura and a style that westerners scramble madly to invoke. go to Bangladesh Day 3


  1. Keep those updates coming Annika! I love it.

  2. Such amazing posts and photos. Thanks for sharing this incredible journey!

    FYI - this is Holly, not the "Resource Moderator" for the PMC blog. Sorry...my profile is set up for that. ha!

  3. It's so good to be able to follow you so closely and with such wonderful photos and evocative descriptions of your travels. Keep up the good work and stay safe!

  4. Now you see why I want to move there!!! Gorgeous!